By Tim Mandese, Cowboy State Daily
A ransomware virus attack on Campbell County Health continued to plague its computer network, causing disruptions in service to Campbell County Hospital and connected systems on Monday.
According to Kelly Ruiz, public information officer with the Department of Homeland Security in Cheyenne, two other institutions, both connected to Campbell County Health, were also affected by the attack.
One was the Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center in Gillette, a long-term care and short-term rehabilitation facility, Ruiz said. The other, according to Dane Joslyn, CCH public information officer, was Wright Clinic and Occupational Health, part of the Campbell County Medical Group.
Ruiz advised the public to follow common computer safeguards to defend against such virus attacks.
“There are some basic things that everyone whether it’s private industry or individuals can do … use strong passwords, don’t click on links, don’t open unknown email attachments,” she said. “Also use cyber security software, a good antivirus.”
It is unknown how the ransomware was transmitted to the CCH network.
“It is still under investigation.” said Ruiz. “We are currently coordinating but we don’t yet know.”
Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, officials are not disclosing the nature of the ransom being demanded by the virus’ attacker. Most ransomware attacks direct the infected user to send an electronic payment through a given link before the system will be released.
During a press conference at CCH Monday afternoon, hospital officials, affected department heads and investigators fielded questions about the attack and the investigation.
“Our goal here is to bring in people that can help identify and go after the perpetrators,” said Leland Christensen, deputy director of the Department of Homeland Security.
Ian Swift, chair of the CCH board of directors, said work continues at the CCH despite the disruption.
“There is a sense of calm in CCH right now,” he said.
There is no estimate as to when the situation might be resolved, said Matt Sabus, information technologies director for CCH.
According to the CCH website, the county’s Emergency Medical Services, CCMH Emergency Department, Maternal Child (OB) and the CCMG Walk-in Clinic are open to assess patients and treat or transfer patients to area hospitals as appropriate.